Archive for June, 2008

Jun 28 2008

My Own Answers

Published by under Personal

Oh right. If I want people to answer my survey, I guess it’s only fair that I answer it myself. But… since I have two blogs, I’m going to answer it twice. Here’s the h!p version. The JE version will, of course, be in my other blog. Yeah, I’m cheating on my own survey, but I’ll make sure not to tell me so I don’t get mad at myself.

1. You have found a magical J-pop genie who will grant you one J-pop related wish (so no wishing for a million dollars or world peace or anything like that). It can be virtually anything as long as it’s directly related to J-pop, and don’t worry, because this is the nice sort of genie, not the kind who will try to find a loop-hole and screw up your wish. So, what do you wish for??? I had to put the hardest question first, didn’t I? Man I hate myself sometimes. Okay. I wish for Morning Musume’s next single to be a HUGE success and usher in a new era of high popularity for them.

2. Is there any J-pop artist or group who seriously pisses you off? If yes, who, and why? Koharu, Koharu, and especially Kirari. Her voice inspires me to violence, and I don’t think she even knows that there’s anything wrong with it.

3. Who do you think is the sexiest japanese singer out there? In h!p, Sayumi, but only in her photobooks.

4. How about the cutest? Momoko. Everything about her is tiny.

5. Best personality? Risa. She radiates sunbeams everywhere she goes (and Mayuge beams too)

6. If given the opportunity, would you rather date person 3, person 4, or person 5? Assuming I’m interested in girls that way (I’m not), definitely Risa. Momoko’s too young and Sayu’s too high maintenance.

7. You work for a Japanese music magazine, and you have the opportunity to interview your favorite artist or group. What are a couple of the questions you want to ask them? I would ask the Momusu’s what they really plan to do with their lives after they graduate, if they could do it all again, would they? (they got asked that on Utaban but it was anonymous and we haven’t heard from 8th gen), whether or not they would be interested in writing their own songs or having input in their concerts (see creative input post), and what they think is the worst costume that they’ve ever had to wear. Most of that would probably never get published, but I’d still be interested to hear the answers.

8. What’s the best (J-pop) song to listen to when you are really sad? If I’m wanting to wallow in sadness “Bye Bye Mata Ne” by Berryz. If I want to cheer myself up “I wish” or “Ai araba it’s all right”

9. When you’re really happy? “Koko ni Iruzee” while jumping around like crazy and totally belting out the “breaaaaaakthrough” lines. Guess what I did when I found out that I got a job teaching in Japan?

10. Do you often sing along to your favorite songs? Oh yes, but not usually when anyone can hear me. Mostly in the car, which is why I really enjoy long driving trips by myself.

11. How about dance? Occasionally.

12. Artistic integrity question!! If someone offered to pay you for blogging, but they were allowed to censor some of your opinions or veto some of your blogging ideas, would you do it? Honestly, probably not, unless it was a ridiculous sum. Some of the reason I started this blog is that I was sick of forums where if you say anything the least bit uncomplimentary about someone’s favorite little idol you’d get bashed into the ground for being so “negative”. If h!p had any say in it, the only things written about the girls would be completely sterilized for our protection, and I wouldn’t be allowed to do fun things like make fun of their awful costumes.

In Truth,

~Celestia~ 

One response so far

Jun 27 2008

A Very Bikkuri Survey

Published by under Momusu

Surveys are fun, aren’t they? They give you something interesting to write about without having to pull material from nowhere. When I was doing my survey post, I started thinking about the kinds of questions I would want to ask other bloggers and J-Pop fans, things that I maybe didn’t know or hadn’t heard before. I would appreciate it oh so much if you would take the time to answer them, either in the comments section or your own blog if you have one.

1. You have found a magical J-pop genie who will grant you one J-pop related wish (so no wishing for a million dollars or world peace or anything like that). It can be virtually anything as long as it’s directly related to J-pop, and don’t worry, because this is the nice sort of genie, not the kind who will try to find a loop-hole and screw up your wish. So, what do you wish for???

2. Is there any J-pop artist or group who seriously pisses you off? If yes, who, and why?

3. Who do you think is the sexiest japanese singer out there?

4. How about the cutest?

5. Best personality?

6. If given the opportunity, would you rather date person 3, person 4, or person 5?

7. You work for a Japanese music magazine, and you have the opportunity to interview your favorite artist or group. What are a couple of the questions you want to ask them?

8. What’s the best (J-pop) song to listen to when you are really sad?

9. When you’re really happy?

10. Do you often sing along to your favorite songs?

11. How about dance?

12. Artistic integrity question!! If someone offerrered to pay you for blogging, but they were allowed to censor some of your opinions or veto some of your blogging ideas, would you do it?

Eagerly Awaiting Responses,

~Celestia~

22 responses so far

Jun 21 2008

Because We Could All Use More Mittsi In Our Lives

Published by under eye candy,Momusu

Aika picspam! Go!!!

Goofy Aika

Cute Aika

Sexy Aika?!

Why Hello Thar Mittsi,

~Celestia~

6 responses so far

Jun 20 2008

Fun With Surveys

Published by under Johnny's,Momusu,Personal

But first, Morning Musume’s Fall Concert tour has been announced. I plan to go to one of the Saturday Tokyo concerts (either November 1st or 8th), so would anyone be interested in coming with? It looks like I won’t be able to make the h!p Summer Concert due to conflicts with me meeting my supervisor and moving in to my new apartment for work (sigh), so this will be my first Morning Musume concert.

Now on with the surveys. First, Cutie Party’s.

1. What was the first Japanese song that you ever listened to? Okay, wait. I’m not sure about this one, but as far as I can remember, I think it was around when I was in Junior High. The internet was only just coming into wide-spread existence, so the only real access Westerners had to Japanese music was VIA anime theme songs. I had a friend who liked Magic Knights RayEarth, and she got me to watch a couple of episodes, so I think that theme song was the first Japanese song I ever listened to. I don’t even know what it was called. *looks up* Okay, it was called “Unyielding Wish” by Naomi Tamura.

2. Did it inspire you to like that group/singer, or did it turn you away? I liked the song, but I have no idea who Naomi Tamura is, and I didn’t even know her name until now, so it didn’t inspire me to like her, but it wasn’t exactly deterring either. Guess I just didn’t care much.

3. What is the one song that you have been listening to for the longest time? So by that I assume you mean a Jpop song that I still listen to? Probably that SMAP song, Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana. That would be the first Jpop song to make it onto my playlists. I heard it at Karaoke when I went to Japan after graduating from high school, it got stuck in my head, and I ended up liking it a lot.

4. What group/singer have you liked the longest? Morning Musume.

5. What is the song with the most plays on your itunes/media player? Uhm.. I’m stupid and I don’t know how to figure that out

6. Is that song your favorite? N/A

7. If not, what is? Depends on my mood, but probably “I Wish”

8. Is there any one group that you can listen to all/most of the songs by? If so, who? No way. I’m far too picky for that.

9. What is your favorite agency? Up Front and Johnny’s. I love them both in different ways!

10. What is your favorite group/singer? Morning Musume

Hmm. I think my answers turned out to be kind of boring. Sorry about that. Now the “survey” from Unchained. The challenge is to write about songs that you have the strongest emotional attachment to and explain why. I’ll start early and work my way up. Sorry if it’s cheating, but most of my choices are not Jpop, because most of them are associated with important times in my life, and thus far, the most important times in my life haven’t been strongly associated with Jpop.

You Are My Sunshine- Children’s Song
Yeah, we’re going waaaay back. When I was a baby/toddler, I absolutely could not go to sleep unless one of my parents sat with me in our rocking chair, read me the book “Good Night Moon” and then sang me this song. I must have been such a joy to raise, huh?

I Hope You Dance- Leanne Womak
Let me get one thing straight. I do not like country. At all. This song, however, is a special exception. I was on dance team in high school, and this was one of our competition songs in the fall of my Freshman year. It was a moving and lovely lyrical number, and it felt really really good to dance it (not to mention that we took 1st place!). This song made me fall in love with dancing, and the lyrics are beautiful and inspiring as well.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance


Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (Life Goes On)- The Beatles
The summer after my junior year of high school I went on a trip to Europe with a group from my school. Our bus driver REALLY loved this song, so he’d play it a lot, particularly when we had reached a destination after a long drive, everyone was asleep or mostly asleep, and we needed something to energize us again. By the end of the trip we were all singing along. That trip was a significant time in my life. I met my current boyfriend there, and it also sparked my interest in travel and seeing other cultures.

Ai Araba It’s All Right- Morning Musume
That this song made the list should probably come as no surprise. It’s the first Morning Musume song I ever heard, and the song that was to begin my obsession with them. To this day, it never fails to cheer me up.

Defying Gravity- Wicked
I love musicals, and this is my absolute favorite song to come from a musical. It’s just so powerful. I don’t have an emotional attachment to this song because of a specific emotional memory so much as it stirs strong emotions in me of it’s own right. If you haven’t listened to this song before, I advise you do so. It’s simply amazing. The real song starts about 1 minute in (there’s kind of an introduction)

Out Loud- Dispatch
This song is special to me because of my college sorority. Every winter at recruitment (or rush or whatever you want to call it) on one of the nights we’d have a slide show of pictures of us and the girls who were the best singers would sing a song a’cappella or with a guitar accompaniment. This was the song used both my Freshman and Senior year, and so it represents both the beginning and end of my collegiate sorority experience for me and all the memories and friendships that came along with that. Hearing it makes me want to cry, but in a good way. I don’t have a recording of our girls singing it, but here is the original version.

I don’t want this list to get out of control, so I’m going to cut myself off here. I’d encourage others to write their own answers though. I like to see what kind of music touches people.

Natsukashii ne,

~Celestia~

3 responses so far

Jun 17 2008

Creative Input

Published by under Johnny's,Uncategorized

I shall warn you now, this post makes mention of Johnny’s, for comparison’s sake.

Being a fan of both h!p and Johnny’s, I can’t help but notice that the differences between the two organizations stretch waaay beyond gender and level of popularity.  One major difference is that the Johnny’s groups, especially the more established groups, have lots of creative input in their work, and as far as I can tell, the h!p girls have next to none. Of the two groups that I am fans of, the majority of the members routinely write their own solo songs, as well as other songs for their group on occasion. The group rappers write their own raps, even for their major singles. Some members choreograph some dances, and they all seem to have a big say in what goes on in their concerts, from ideas for effects, staging, and props to selecting their own set-list (which I know that at least Arashi does). Arashi also named their last album themselves, and I know that KT at least had input as to which songs made the final cut for their last album. H!p concert MCs are usually completely scripted. The only words of their own choosing that come out of the girls mouths are their self-introductions and goodbyes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to run those by the management and get them approved ahead of time. Johnny’s MCs follow a much looser format. Often it’s just the members out there shooting the breeze, and if there are some specific topics or format that they’re supposed to use, it’s still usually nothing scripted.

I wonder why the management trusts the h!p girls so little. I think the fans would love to hear them making amusing conversation amongst themselves during the concert MCs instead of reciting jokes that sometimes fall flat. It’s much more personal that way, isn’t it? I’m sure some of them are capable of writing song lyrics. The Johnny’s  boys are no smarter than h!p’s girls, and I’d be really interested to see what they came up with. Even if it was just songs that were only performed in concert, it would be something. I’m also sure that all the groups have members who are capable of choreographing a simple dance routine for a concert performance, and I bet the more experienced members could come up with some good ideas for the concert set-up too. They’ve been doing this long enough. They should know what works and what doesn’t. Also, why shouldn’t they be allowed to pick their own set-list? They’re the ones who are going to be singing those songs, and I think that at least the group leader and sub-leader could be trusted with that responsibility. Maybe not for the younger groups, but certainly for Morning Musume and the Elder Club members. I think that maybe they’re sometimes allowed to select their own solo songs, but why not give them a chance to do more than that?

There are advantages and disadvantages to giving the members of h!p more creative input. There’s a possibility that they don’t even want it. Maybe they prefer just following instructions and not having to worry about being creative or coming up with ideas. It’s certainly easier for them, and if something doesn’t work, the blame will fall on their management, not on the girls themselves. Also, Tsunku seems to be very protective about no one else writing songs for his idols, so he might object to the competition even if it was from the idols themselves. On the other hand, maybe their work would be more fulfilling for them if they felt like they had a larger part in the decision making process. Also, they might just be able to be taken a tiny bit more seriously as artists rather than just as idols. I know that they will never in a million years escape the “idol” moniker, but if we could say that “Maimi Yanjima choreographed that dance!” or “Ai Takahashi wrote that song!”, then I think they would gain another level of credibility. Finally, I think that the fans would love to see even more of their favorite idol put into what they do, and even if something didn’t work quite as it should, they’d be a lot more forgiving if they knew that the girl they worship was in charge rather than some far off and faceless producer.

 So, wha’da you think?

~Celestia~ 

18 responses so far

Jun 15 2008

We Have (another) Winner!

Published by under contest

Congratulations to Kirarin☆Snow ☃ for successfully completing the contest!

Below are the answers as well as some brief explanations. Highlight to read them, or don’t if you still want to play for fun.

1 ai araba its all right, morning musume, window in pajama room

2 Oujisama to yuki no yoru, tanpopo, typewriter Rika’s working on

3 Ki ga tsukeba anata, Matsuura Aya, long close-up on daisies during musical interlude

4 Shiawase Kyouryuu Ondo, Odoru11, Bottom of screen about 1/3 of the way through

5 Pittari Shitai X-mas (close up), Pucchimoni, strange santa skull and crossbones on   wall

6 21 Ji made no Cinderella, Berryz, Momoko’s hat

7 Aa ii na, W, just one of the many scenes they march through

8 Meguru Koi no Kisetsu, C-ute, Maimi’s math homework (flashes up quickly during photo montage section)

9 Yuujou~Kokoro ni BUSU niwa Nara nee, Otomegumi, Sayumi’s earring

10 Romantic Ukare Mode, Fujimoto Miki, Her golf gloves

11 VUDen, Ice cream to my Purin, Rika’s nails

12 Love Machine (full version), Morning Musume, from the really long beginning part

13 Momoiro Kataomoi, Matsuura Aya, side of messed up can (cabbage)

14- Minimoni Hinamatsuri, Minimoni, Flowers Mari and Tsuji hold up near the beginning (you can also see a bit of Mari’s crown)

15 Kira Pika, Futari wa NS, MaiMai’s earring

16 Koibito wa kokoro no Ouendan, Country Musume, flyby cat

17- Hyokkori Hontonjima, Morning Musume, Kaori’s nose

18 Koi no Telephone Goal, Abe Natsumi, bad guys in turn a racecar into this walrus

19 Chance, Koharu, Kirari keeps duckies on her desk (very beginning)

20 Namida no Iro, C-ute, Maimi’s shoulder when she’s lying down

21 Full version of I Wish, Morning Musume, Mari’s feet in the storybook

22 Uwasa no Sexy Guy, Goto Maki, some of the city she flies over

23 The Stress, Abe Natsumi, a lock of Nacchi’s hair

24 Kiss Kiss Kiss, Buono, Airi’s bracelet

25 Otome Pasta ni Kandou, Tanpopo, The extremely tall shoes Mari and Kago wear to look like they’re near the same height as Kaori

26 Melodies, GAM, part of Ayaya and Miki’s highly platonic breakfast

27 Yaruki it’s easy, Goto Maki, Overhead view of her bed with Melon Kinenbi on it

28 Summer Raggae Rainbow, 7nin Matsuri, some of Lehau’s unfortunate hat

29 Robokiss, W, Sticker on Robot box

30 Fighting Pose wa Datte Ja Nai, Berryz, Magazine Miya holds by the pool w/rainbow effects

Till Next Game,

~Celestia~ 

4 responses so far

Jun 12 2008

Some Hints For The Contest

Published by under contest

There haven’t been many answers submitted for my game THIS POST which has me thinking that perhaps I made it a bit too difficult. To help you out, here are a bunch of helpful hints on the more difficult ones.

2. This is a typewriter

5. From a pucchimoni PV

6. A hat

8. This flashes up very quickly during a montage

11. Those are Rika’s nails

12/21. Both are only visible in the full version of the PV

14. What’s that in the lower right corner?

24. Comes from a 2008 PV

27. Pillows

Hope that helps! Remember, there is a prize, and most of these are pretty easy to spot if you’re watching the right PV.

~Celestia~

2 responses so far

Jun 09 2008

Let’s Play Another Game

I had so much fun with my last little contest that I’ve created another. This time the name of the game is identifying which PV the following images were taken from. Give it a try! What have you got to lose?

RULES/INSTRUCTIONS

1. Entries must be submitted via numbered list in the comments section.

2. You may add things/change you submission ONE time so make it count

3. Only the title of the song needs to be submitted, not group, version, or what exactly you’re looking at

4. All images come from h!p single PVs, this means NO ‘Best Shots’ or PVs that were made for album songs of B-sides, but any version of the A-side PV may be used

5. If the single is a double A-side, either PV might be used

6. All images have their number in the file name, so double check that before submitting in case your browser misaligns them

7. Deadline for submissions is June 30th, or whenever someone answers all 30 of them correctly

8. The person with the most correct answers wins

9. PRIZE IS $20 TO YESASIA.COM, IF ALL ARE CORRECT: $30

10. An important hint. Images are from PVs by the following groups: Morning Musume (including Gumis), C-ute, Berryz, Buono, W, Kirari/Kirari-related groups, Matsuura Aya, GAM, Summer shuffle units, Country Musume (any variation), Tanpopo, Minimoni, VUDen, Pucchimoni, Goto Maki, Fujimoto Miki, and Abe Natsumi. If you don’t see a unit or soloist on this list, they are not included. Every unit here appears in the answers at least once. It might seem like a long list, but I’ve actually eliminated quite a few.

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Alternately, if you’re having trouble viewing the images you can download the full set HERE 

Play Ball!

~Celestia~ 

 

5 responses so far

Jun 04 2008

The Trouble with LinLin

Published by under Momusu

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that LinLin is currently the least favored member of Morning Musume. Consider the fabulous and far-reaching poll at Hello!Blog HERE and HERE

 

You’ll notice that LinLin ranks last overall as well as in almost every individual category. This makes me wonder, what is so wrong with LinLin? Why is she so universally disliked? Well, it’s not that everyone dislikes her, but she clearly has significantly less support than any of the other Musumes. There have been far worse singers and dancers to grace Momusu’s ranks over the years, so it can’t be that. She’s not exactly gorgeous, but she’s far from ugly, so I don’t think it’s that either.

The easy explanation is that she’s Chinese, and racial prejudices are inhibiting her popularity. Unfortunately, she joined at the same time as a certain JunJun who has been much more successful in gaining fans despite being just as Chinese as LinLin, so that kind of debunks that theory. I’ve heard complaints that she comes off as “fake” or that she’s “trying too hard”, and I’d agree with that, but then again, haven’t we heard the same complaints about popular members such as Reina and Sayumi? Why does it bother us so much more when we see LinLin acting in a way we perceive as fake? I’d say that we just haven’t gotten used to her yet, but it’s been a year, and if anything, her popularity has only been decreasing in that time.

I think one of her main problems is that within an entire year’s time she has yet to develop a real idol personality. I feel like I’ve gotten to know JunJun and Aika, to a certain extent, since they’ve joined, but LinLin is still kind of a big question mark. I still don’t really know what to expect from her, aside from lots of enthusiastic nodding, and that bothers me. It seems like she hasn’t been making herself vulnerable to the camera at all, and whoever her “real self” is, it’s hidden behind a lot more layers of protection than your average idol. I think she’s so worried about doing this idol thing right that she’s just being too careful not to mess it up. She’s acting how she thinks an idol should act: cute, very enthusiastic, constantly smiling, and energetic, but the viewers can sense that there’s something too forced about the whole thing, and its off-putting. She’s trying sooo hard that it’s exhausting to watch her.

Another subtle contributing factor is the way she interacts with the other girls. Watch Momusu interact for a little while, and it becomes clear that none of the other girls are really that fond of LinLin. Sure, they’ll pose with her for pictures and whatnot, but you can sense their wariness around her. If you look a bit beyond the surface, at the averted eyes, the forced smiles, and the subtle body language, you’ll see that the apparent friendship is just an act for the camera. While JunJun seems to be fitting in beautifully with the others, especially Eri and Risa, LinLin just isn’t. Everyone seems to regard JunJun with affection, but LinLin with veiled annoyance. I’m not saying that they hate her or anything, but I get the impression that they still don’t really consider her to be one of them. Such subtle cues from the rest of the Musume are bound to rub off on the audience as well.

I really hope that LinLin can work things out, because I can only imagine how hard all of this must be on her. She is a strong and determined young woman to leave her home country, deal with all the criticism she has faced, learn a new language as well as a myriad of songs and dances, and try to navigate the social minefield that is a group of teenage/early 20s girls. My personal favorite, Gaki-san, was once the least popular member of the group, so I do think there’s still hope for LinLin, and I’ll try to continue to support her.

Bacchiri Desu,

~Celestia~

8 responses so far

Jun 02 2008

Oh Noes, Miyabi Scandal

Published by under berryz,Johnny's

With recent images and video of Miyabi and a boy who she appears to be dating circulating around the internet, the outcry against H!P’s “unjust” boyfriend policy has started anew. I don’t think I’ve ever weighed in on that particular issue here, so here are my thoughts on the matter.

1st- Man. I was so betting the first serious Berryz scandal would go to Risako.

2nd- As a sidenote, if any of you are HeySayJump fans and are concerned about the rumors that the boy with Miyabi is Inoo Kei, please take a deep breath and relax. Johnny’s boys do not get kicked out of their groups for dating girls, okay? As far as I know, it’s never happened. They get interviewed about their dating habits almost every month “where do you like to take girls on dates? how do you confess? how long are your relationships usually? etc.”. There are new tabloid photos of a Johnny’s member with a girl almost every week. I could show you clear pictures of Masaki Aiba of Arashi with a girl, on a bed, both topless and kissing. If he didn’t get kicked out of Johnny’s for that, Kei is not going anywhere for a little public hugging. A slap on the wrist probably, maybe even getting passed up for a drama roll, but not expelled.

3rd- And now to Miya. I’ll have to admit. I am concerned. I can echo the popular sentiments of “a girl her age should be allowed to date!” and “they were just hugging!” but you’ve heard that all before, and it doesn’t get any truer. What it comes down to is whether or not Miyabi’s going to be “leaving h!p to focus on her studies”, and the ball is entirely in UFA’s court. There are 3 ways that the can choose to react to this, and no doubt there are currently many frantic behind closed doors meetings going on at UFA to decide on a strategy. They could: A- Apologize profusely for the photos, make Miyabi apologize profusely for the photos and then either expel her or put her on probation, B- Either claim that they are “just friends” or ignore it completely, take Miyabi a bit out of the spotlight for a while and wait for things to blow over, or C- Deny the fuck out of it. That girl is not Miyabi, she’s never met Inoo Kei, and Miyabi will confirm this. Cross their fingers and hope people believe them.

At this point, I’d say that B is out. It’s pretty clear that they are not “just friends” and I think there’s too much evidence for this just to be ignored. Strategy B works well for minor scandals by trivializing the issue. By refusing to acknowledge, scandals can be run out of steam quite quickly, and there is very little lasting damage to the idol, but I’m afraid that this might be too big a deal for that.

That leaves A and C. UFA would probably prefer C since Miyabi is currently a major player in H!P as both a lead in Berryz and a member of Buono. On the other hand… that girl really really looks like Miya. I don’t know if the pictures are blurry enough for them to believably claim it’s not her. Then there’s A. Nobody wants that, but it’s seeming like the most likely option at this point, at least to me. Now it’s time for us to all cross our fingers and anxiously wait for the verdict.

As a final note, does anyone know what the Japanese fans reactions to this have been. The English-speaking community seems to be largely of the opinion that h!p rules are highly unfair and extremely concerned about what is going to happen to Miyabi. Are the Japanese fan’s reactions really radically different? Are they all angry not at UFA, but at Miyabi? Are they demanding that she be expelled? Can they really turn on their idol so quickly?

Concerned,

~Celestia~

4 responses so far